Friday, February 29, 2008

Another instance of bureaucracy that harms rather than helps

In good Leftist style, the NSW government has legislated for penalties rather than incentives in the child abuse area and the results are predictable. People should be REWARDED for detecting real abuse, not punished for failing to report suspicions

The NSW Department of Community Service's disastrous system of mandatory reporting of children at risk - which has clogged caseworkers' in-trays and potentially cost lives - will be changed. The embattled department has conceded that the system, which is creating almost 300,000 notifications a year, has become an unworkable monster in its current form.

DOCS has recommended to the special commission of inquiry into child protection services that a "higher standard" should be required from those reporting cases in future. In a bid to stem the flow of unnecessary reports police, health workers, teachers and other groups will have to produce "reasonable evidence a child or young person is exposed to risk or harm". DOCS has also suggested it might reduce the $22,000 fines slapped on people who fail to lodge a report. Pressure on the department is intensifying as the Ombudsman's Office investigates the deaths of 114 children known to DOCS in 2006-2007.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that primary school principals are among those who have admitted to "reporting excessively out of fear of legal consequences". The Public Schools Principals' Forum said cases of child neglect were often overlooked because of the heavy emphasis on physical and sexual abuse. "Reports of neglect and allegations of physical abuse no longer receive high priority or early intervention from DOCS," the forum said in its submission to the special inquiry. "Principals perceive that the bar has been lowered significantly. DOCS personnel are so overwhelmed with notifications they are unable to cope. "Long waiting lists for investigation have resulted ... the unintended outcome is that the children most urgently in need of assistance are frequently lost in the thousands of reports."

DOCS director of legal services Roderick Best said it was expected changes to the standard required for mandatory reporting would reduce the number of unnecessary notifications. Currently anyone else who works with children must report any child at "risk of harm". But the criteria is so open-ended that referrals may be made for children who turn up at school without their lunch or with dirty clothing. "The system has created a mindset whereby professionals do not feel free any more to use their judgment," an insider said.

Retiring DOCS director-general Neil Shepherd has warned that caseworkers are drowning in paperwork. A decade ago DOCS received 72,800 reports on children feared to be in harm's way. In 2006-2007 there were 286,033 reports - 5501 per week and a 19 per cent increase over the previous year. By DOCS' own numbers, 22 per cent of NSW children have been subject to a notification. [Quite absurd]

Ombudsman Bruce Barbour has described the quality of the department's work as well as its failure to properly deal with its workload and liaise with other agencies, as "unacceptable".


Alcoholic black parents force children to suckle dogs

Aboriginal children in Outback Australia are so neglected by their alcoholic parents that some have suckled from dogs' teats in a desperate search for food, it has been reported. The shocking revelation came from a coroner investigating the appalling rates of suicide among Aborigines living in the remote and beautiful Kimberley region of Western Australia. Earlier this month the prime minister, Kevin Rudd, delivered a much-publicised apology to Aborigines for past injustices, but critics questioned whether his words would lead to any practical improvement in the wretched lives of indigenous people

"The plight of the little children was especially pathetic and, for many of these, the future is bleak," said coroner Alastair Hope. He was presenting a 122 page report into the deaths of 22 men and women in the region since 2000, some by suicide but all linked to alcohol and drugs. During his research, he heard evidence that malnourished children had been sucking the teats of dogs for food and that young men had attempted suicide after being refused a can of beer.

Aborigines in isolated towns like Fitzroy Crossing lived in overcrowded, ramshackle houses surrounded by rubbish and with little furniture. People slept on filthy foam mattresses beside diseased dogs in temperatures which reach 40C or more in summer. "In these communities there is nothing to do for most of the inhabitants for most of the time. Alcohol and drugs provide an escape," Mr Hope said. There was "little refinement" about the binge drinking, with Aborigines becoming stone drunk on warm beer and wine mixed together. Some died after wandering onto roads and being hit by cars. The welfare of Aboriginal people was nothing less than "a disaster", Mr Hope said, in a report which highlighted how little Aborigines have benefited from Australia's 17-year run of economic prosperity.

"These are horrific findings from the coronial inquiry," said indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin. "Findings that I'm sorry to say are repeated in many parts of remote Australia." Alcohol abuse was so entrenched among Aborigines in the Kimberley that foetal alcohol syndrome was 21.5 times higher compared with the rest of Western Australia.

Mr Hope said that widespread alcohol abuse and extreme negligence left Aboriginal children vulnerable to sexual abuse. Despite spending GBP 565 million a year on tackling Aboriginal disadvantage, the Western Australian government's approach was "seriously flawed" because funds were allocated to 22 different agencies with little coordination. The coroner called for restrictions on the availability of full-strength alcohol and the linking of welfare payments with adults' caring adequately for their children.

"Even if we did everything right as from today, we are still heading into hell. We have a huge problem from the legacy of the past," said a local MP, Tom Stephens. "Even just tackling everything right from now, we've got a descent into chaos and crisis like you would never believe possible."


Leftist black welfare policy just a pale imitation of conservative policies

By Andrew Bolt

JENNY Macklin should praise John Howard for daring to do it first. It was Howard as prime minister who had to cop the most obscene vilification for deciding that Aborigines in the Northern Territory's worst communities would have their pensions quarantined to make sure their kids were fed. Typical was the National Sorry Day Committee, which shamefully abused him as the "dog of white supremacy" wanting "to return to its vomit". But this same committee was this week silent as Macklin, Indigenous Affairs Minister in the new Rudd Government, extended part of Howard's evil reforms to Western Australia. Out of breath, I guess.

Macklin on Wednesday announced a mini-Howard. She'd give Centrelink the power to hold back part of the pensions it gave to dysfunctional Aboriginal families to make sure they went to feeding the children. Pray for the children whose parents need to be forced to feed them. Macklin's policy is less broad-brush than that imposed by Howard on the NT. It affects only some individuals rather than whole communities, and doesn't come with other sweeping changes - which is probably why it won't work as well. But without Howard's example last year, it's doubtful Labor would have dared even this little. And even then it took a truly shocking report by the West Australian coroner to force Macklin's hand.

Alistair Hope had investigated the deaths of 22 young Aboriginal people from the Kimberley, and found that many young Aboriginal men and women in the region were so drunk or drugged they killed themselves, while others were so paralytic that they died on the road as they left the pub. "It appears that Aboriginal welfare, particularly in the Kimberley, constitutes a disaster, but no one is in charge of the disaster response," Hope wrote. Welfare money vanished on booze, drugs, gambling or hard porn, leaving many children hungry. The children of Aboriginal parents were also more than 20 times more likely to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome. "The plight of the little children was especially pathetic and, for many of these, the future is bleak," Hope said. No kidding?

In fact, it should run like 240 volts through our complacency that Hope heard evidence that some children were so starved they allegedly sucked the teats of their dogs.

A little quarantining of welfare is, of course, hopelessly inadequate. Why in God's name don't we at least scoop up such children and save them? But that battle was lost with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's foolish sorry to the "stolen generations". By saying sorry to 50,000 "stolen" children who didn't exist, Rudd has made it harder to "steal" thousands of children who very much do exist and desperately need help. Thanks to him, the counterattack against saving such children is on for real. Newspaper reports this week revealed Aboriginal activists were now fighting the Northern Territory's Family and Children's Services to return children they'd saved from struggling communities.

Indeed, Glen Dooley, of the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Association, even claimed that sending more welfare workers to help children in black communities might cause "destructive effects" to "rival the fallout from the stolen generation". Excuse me, Mr Dooley, but doesn't the sickening evidence show that if we err it is in removing too few black children, not too many? What a nightmare we've made with our fake history and fake guilt.

Even discussing the only solution left is not possible in polite society. And, no, I don't mean crudely stealing black children from destructive families in hellish communities. I mean turning off the welfare that keeps those sick communities alive, far from jobs, schools, opportunities and hope. Integration, not separation, is the only solution. In a couple of decades more of suffering, we may at last debate this. Pity today's children.


Another crooked Italian politician in the Leftist NSW government

A PROPERTY developer who donated more than $160,000 to the NSW ALP has been given a $200 million windfall in a land rezoning deal - despite the Government's own expert panel warning Planning Minister Frank Sartor against the move. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the Village Building Company has donated $164,900 to the NSW ALP over the past five years and hired a former Labor minister to pressure the State Government to rezone 2000 lots of land.

The Government did - turning the company's estimated $4 million investment in a rural lot into an estimated $200 million worth of residential property. The company, run by Bob Winnel, has also donated thousands of dollars to Wollongong City councillors - including independent Mayor Alex Darling - and more than $10,000 directly to Police Minister David Campbell, who has already been dragged into the ICAC sex-for-development scandal.

The site, next to the ACT in an area called Tralee, is under the Canberra airport flight path and was deemed unsuitable for habitation by an expert panel chaired by respected former public servant and businessman Brian Gilligan. The independent report, which was commissioned by the Government, told Mr Sartor in 2006 not to rezone, saying residents would suffer from aircraft noise. A visit by The Daily Telegraph to the site revealed planes roaring overhead as they came in to land.

Canberra airport has also warned that noise in the area would be unbearable as it increased its air traffic. The ACT Government and Federal Labor also condemned the move. Yet despite this, Mr Sartor approved the land release in April last year after extensive lobbying from the company, which donated more than $100,000 to the ALP in the past three years alone.

The revelation comes amid the beleaguered Government's move to overhaul the donations system and a Daily Telegraph online poll showing 82 per cent of respondents believe developer donations should be banned outright.

Mr Gilligan yesterday said he was unaware of the ALP connection and he stood by his findings that the area should not be inhabited. "I think they are very clear," he said. Labor's federal transport spokesman at the time, Martin Ferguson, also raised concerns.

Source. Details of another crooked NSW Leftist Italian politician in the news at the moment here

Global cooling good for Australia's ski resorts too

Note that it was SUMMER when the above picture was taken a day or two ago

The final day of summer in the Snowy Mountains has taken on a wintry chill after snow fell last night at the ski resorts of Perisher Blue and Thredbo. A light dusting of snow blanketed the NSW ski resorts overnight as temperatures dropped to a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celcius at Perisher and minus 3 degrees at Thredbo. Intermittent light snow flurries continued to fall into the morning on Mount Perisher.

Weather forecasters are already predicting a bumper snow season for 2008, according to resort management. Temperatures are expected to remain low with persistent precipitation throughout winter. "We have barely had a summer this year," said Gary Grant, Perisher Blue's general manager of marketing. "It's felt as though it's remained cold since the end of the 2007 season, apart from a few warm days, there air has always had a nip in it."



AUSTRALIA will meet its Kyoto Protocol emissions targets but greenhouse pollution is growing, mainly due to heavy reliance on coal for electricity. A report from the Federal Government's Department of Climate Change shows that although the rate of growth is slowing, Australia's greenhouse gas emissions are likely to increase by 20 per cent by 2020.

The Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, said the figures were good for the country, and showed a cut in expected emissions: "[The analysis] shows that the Rudd Government's policies, such as increasing the use of renewable energy, will trigger much greater emissions reductions in the longer term than had been forecast in 2006 under the previous government." The analysis said emissions would have grown faster under the previous government's policies, rising by 27 per cent by 2020.


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